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Don Movie Review, Sivakarthikeyan's college drama has all the makings of a big hit

Don, starring Sivakarthikeyan, SJ Suryah, and Samuthirakani and directed by Cibi Chakravarthi, is a lighthearted movie with a message.

We notice a banner in the backdrop of Don as one of the main characters delivers a genuine apology to another. It reads, "Mistakes are always forgiving if one has the guts to acknowledge it."

It's also what the scenario is attempting to convey, and it succeeds. But, lest we miss the message, first-time filmmaker Cibi Chakravarthy zooms down on the poster... to the point where there is no space for nuance.

This instance reflects the film's overall problem: it conveys its themes through clichéd phrases rather than the narrative. Don wants to talk about two things: a) discovering one's genius in rule-bound, too demanding engineering schools that want to suffocate its students' joy, and b) honouring our parents while they are still alive. What gives? How are these things even connected? Let's not go there now.

To begin with, these difficulties are as new to Tamil film as last-over finishes are to Chennai Super Kings fans (there's always next season, people... there's always another season). Engineering schools, in particular, are targeted like a hesitant part-time bowler. Meanwhile, the Father Sentiment can inflict enough cringe, despite being a lesser-used weapon than the Mother Sentiment.

Second, the screenplay is unconcerned with the issues that the film wishes to address. Instead, it mostly occupies the time with Chakravarthy's (Sivakarthikeyan) antics in his one-upmanship struggle with his college principal Bhoominathan (SJ Suryah). Even after an hour into the movie, the antagonism is well created. Until then, we must endure a barrage of groan-inducing, face-palming humour.

Between Samuthirakani and Sivakarthikeyan, there is an unexplored father-son relationship. Samuthirakani is introduced in the film as an unloving father who is perpetually annoyed with his kid. On his first day in school, he smacks his son. When he wishes to emulate his on-screen hero Rajinikanth's extravagant haircut, he shaves his head. When the youngster falls off his bike, he takes care of it. It's an exaggerated rendition of Samuthirakani's behaviour with Dhanush in Velai Illa Pattadhaari's first half.

He has an outburst from his kid for not being a decent parent, just like he did in VIP. However, the film attempts to celebrate this toxic parenting near the end, portraying sequences when his father suppresses his affection in order to avoid spoiling his kid. For a film that concludes with a message about valuing parents, these father-son scenes are equally underdeveloped.

Priyanka Arul Mohan is given a heroic beginning, yet she is mostly in the film to motivate the hero. Her and Sivakarthikeyan's romance subplot is also made up of generic sequences.

Sivakarthikeyan returns after a stoic detour in Doctor, laughing and sobbing, singing and dancing, and making the picture palatable to some extent. Some of his scenes with SJ Suryah (whose character is also one-dimensional) are effective. Anirudh attempts musical gymnastics with his background score, but all of these supporting aspects fall short of salvaging a script with a poor storyline.